19th of October 2011 Author: Johnny Karp
Finance Minister and online gambling firm connected to the scandal
The Czech Finance Minister Miroslev Kalousek is the subject of a criminal investigation over the award of online betting licences to online betting companies in 2008. The authorities are questioning the involvement of bribery and abuse of power.
The police anti-corruption unit is investigating allegations that Penta Investment group co-founder Marek Dospiva donated Kč 11 million (approx. $ 613 000) through an alleged middleman, DuÅ¡an NovotnÃ½, to the Finance Minister's political party TOP 09, primarily to secure a Czech online betting licence for its subsidiary Fortuna. It resulted in five internet gambling firms (Fortuna, Sazka, Synot Tip, Tipsport and Chance) getting the licences.
Minister Kalousek denied all the accusations: 'It's simply an absurd fabrication, the only aim of which could be to give me a bad name in the media, if possible, before the TOP 09 annual party conference. There's not a grain of truth in it. A range of companies received permission, and I can completely rule out that there was any sort of corrupt motive behind the decision or that I received any kind of backhand payment for it,' he said for Czech publication Pravo, adding that "some sort of police provocation is probably behind the investigation."
The investigation was initiated after the Czech MP TomÃ¡Å¡ JarolÃm, a lawyer, lodged a criminal complaint earlier this year.
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